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The Universal Studios Florida That Almost Was

Discussion in 'Universal Studios Florida' started by Jamesh22, May 13, 2019.

  1. Jamesh22

    Jamesh22 Premium Member

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    Wanted to share this, hope it’s new to you.

    So you have probably seen the original map and concept art for USF back when the park opened in 1990.

    What I had never seen until recently was the below much earlier concept plan by MCA Universal created in the 1980’s.

    This would have been a very different park to what we have today, and much more in line with USH.

    It’s been said before that Universal took all the big show scenes on the USH studio tour and made them into full-fledged e-Tickets for Florida, but it looks like plans had progressed in a much different direction before that decision was made.
    upload_2019-5-13_20-24-24.png
    Look at the size of the Studio Tour!

    I for one am glad they went in a different direction.
     
  2. fryoj

    fryoj Premium Member

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    Do you have a higher res version of this? It's neat but zooming in just blurs everything.
     
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  3. Jamesh22

    Jamesh22 Premium Member

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  4. RFRees

    RFRees Rookie

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    Thanks for posting this!

    So correct me if I'm wrong, but the original concept of Universal Studios (or "Movie World") in Orlando was essentially to be a really long back-lot tour?

    [Off topic: To be honest, I wouldn't mind another park trying something like this in a sort of 'hybrid design'... where the tram tour takes guests through the lands, stopping at each, allowing the guests to step off and experience the land, and step back on the tram once they are ready to move on. Each time you move through lands, the tram would stop for an event, e.g. near the water for the 'Jaws event' (or something newer/more culturally relevant).]
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2019
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  5. Jamesh22

    Jamesh22 Premium Member

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    I think originally they just wanted to repeat what they already had in Hollywood - a small park area and a long studio tour. The park area closely resembles what we had on the upper lot in USH around that time.

    It seems like they then decided to go bigger, perhaps because of Disney planning MGM studios and perhaps because Spielberg got involved. Either way they definitely went in the right direction as what we got when the park opened is far better than this original plan IMO.

    I'm not sure we will ever see another 'Studio Tour' It works in Hollywood due to space and the history. Anything else just seems too forced.
     
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  6. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Jay Stein, in Gennawey's 'Jaybangs" book, gives a long explanation of what went down on this. ...To make a long story short, there were disagreements between a group investing in Universal (Garth Drabinsky and his crew from Cineplex Odeon)& the Universal team (P&D group from MCA), led by Jay, that was planning the park. Their plan was basically what you have above, where the park was basically studio tours, but bigger than Hollywood.... from the book, "Drabinsky was not impressed. He considered cloning the LA tour as obsolete and ancient history....the heated discussion continued. Each side stood proudly by what they had done but now was the time for collaboration and compromises. That's how Jay worked. As a result, the overall concept of the park changed from a 'two-ride park' to a 'show/ride park"
     
  7. Jamesh22

    Jamesh22 Premium Member

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    Great insight thanks!
     
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  8. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    :thumbsup:......Thanks.........yes, two rides essentially *a land based tour....*a water based tour.....................In the long run, it's probably good that the original plan was rejected.
     
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  9. fryoj

    fryoj Premium Member

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    For a little context:

    Screen Shot 2019-05-14 at 9.20.05 PM.png
     
  10. RFRees

    RFRees Rookie

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    This is awesome, thanks!

    Anyone have any links/pics to compare what Universal Orlando Resort looked like day 1?
     
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  11. Jamesh22

    Jamesh22 Premium Member

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    I don't have an aerial pic but the below (slightly inaccurate) artwork and time lapse video which shows how much the resort has changed:
    upload_2019-5-15_18-43-27.png

     
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  12. NickC

    NickC Newcomer

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  13. Jamesh22

    Jamesh22 Premium Member

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    Amazing job! Where did you get all the footage from?
     
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  14. NickC

    NickC Newcomer

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    The older imagery came from the FDOT APLUS image archives, and the newer images are from the Orange County Property Appraiser - they update their map with new imagery from Januray of every year - the high-res stuff started in 2012.
     
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  15. Mad Dog

    Mad Dog Premium Member

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    Damn, this is a great thread !!! :thumbsup:
     
  16. faceleg

    faceleg Rookie

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    I always wondered how people got to the park while they were building City Walk and such. I had to pause and time scan the time lapse video to realize they built the parking garage first then everything else kinda around that.
     
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